A Viewer's Response to Pat Robertson's Haiti Comments
Pat Robertson, world renowned humanitarian, recognized and honored by such distinguished organizations as Yale University, Food for the Hungry, and Students for America, is currently under fire for presenting a controversial statement regarding the recent tragedies of Haiti. These attacks come in spite of the efforts and aid directly provided by his Disaster relief foundation, Operation Blessing International.
Since 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 202 million people in 105 countries and all 50 United States, providing goods and services valued at more than $1.4 billion, and is ranked among the top 75 US non-profit charity organizations.
Robertson’s comments in their entirety read as follows:
“...something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.” True story. And so, the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor.”
“That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now, we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.”
While not misquoted in the multitude of replies and responses from many in high levels of influence, Robertson’s statements have often been selectively chosen to present a biased and negative view. One has only to read the entire statement to see a view of balance, focused primarily on the nation of Haiti’s welfare, and devoid of any extreme condemnation. Rather, Robertson asks for and encourages the prayer and relief of country facing, what in a later statement he called “...a tragedy of major proportions.”
To hold Robertson to one sentence of his statement, albeit one of seemingly significant importance, forces one to miss entirely the heart and effort put forth by both Robertson and Operation Blessing, one of the many various charitable organizations founded by Robertson, which focuses on providing relief to disaster stricken and impoverished nations.
Operation Blessing has since responded to the catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti by sending over $2,000,000 in medicinal supplies, medical personnel, off-road vehicles, and other much needed supplies. Most recently they have announced that, pending government clearance, they hope to deliver multiple water purification units which are able to produce 10,000 gallons of clean water per day, a much needed commodity in very short supply.
Operation Blessing has been working closely with multiple other disaster relief foundations, primarily Partners in Health, founded by renowned anthropologist and physician, Paul Farmer.
While news of the recent aid provided by Robertson’s relief foundation has been largely overlooked, also unknown are the amounts of aid provided by Operation Blessing in several of Haiti’s past tragedies, such as the devastations caused by Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike in 2008. The direct influence of Pat Robertson has provided support and life to the nation of Haiti for several years, far predating his “...racist and hateful...” statements of which he is currently being accused.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.